What’s the most extreme thing you’ve done for love?
Evija and I met through our mutual love of crafting and I’m happy to say she’s one of the great friends I’ve made through this DIY blog 🙂 She’s not only super supportive of my blog- we’ve done a few fun DIY collaborations such as this marbling themed project and an upcycling tutorial– but also has a super interesting story! How many people do you know who left University for love? Read on to find out more about her story! 🙂
How did you meet your husband Shaun? Tell us more about moving from Latvia to the Isle of Man- it sounds very exciting!
I came to the Isle of Man in May 2004 by chance on a student’s exchange programme as I was studying foreign languages at the University of Latvia. It is quite funny as I remember I really didn’t want to go.. My friend and I were supposed to stay here for the summer. Little did I know that this one summer would change my whole life. I met Shaun (my now husband of almost 9 years) two weeks after I arrived in the Isle of Man! When the summer was over, I had to go back home to Latvia. I knew I had a decision to make either listen to my head or my heart.. I chose my heart and ended up dropping out of university, leaving my home, family and friends and move to the Isle of Man in January 2005. It sounds quite dramatic, but I always believe you should go with your gut feeling.
How did you start DIY-ing? What made you decide to blog about DIY and how long have you been blogging?
I have always been very creative since I was younger. I went to art school and loved painting and making things out of nothing. As the time went by, I didn’t have time to be creative as I had a job and studies. I came across a painted piece of furniture one day. I started reading about chalk paint and discovered Pinterest! That kind of then grew into an obsession and now I can’t think about anything else! I painted something and shared with the family. They encouraged me to do more, showcase it to people. When my dad died suddenly nearly three years ago my projects, crafts and blog was kind of a therapy for me. I can’t really remember what pushed me to do the blog, but I am so glad that I did. It helped me through some tough times. My blog celebrated it’s 2nd Blogversary in February and I am learning new things and trying to improve every single day!
So you started it in the Isle of Man then… looks like the move has really worked out for you in more ways than one! 🙂 Tell us about your first successful DIY project and your most memorable failure at DIY-ing?
None of my DIYs go according to the plan, I improvise and deal with whatever comes up. I have no idea what I am doing most of the time, so it is pretty much trial an error. The most successful DIY must be my compass table I did for the Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest (it came third in the overall competition), it was such hard work but totally worth it when it was done! The most popular post on the blog and on Hometalk (where it has been viewed over 1.06 million times!) is my DIY gold vase using some rubber bands.
If something goes wrong, I try not to dwell on it. Yes, I will have a cry or a rant at the time but then once I calm down I think, now how can I fix it?! Most of the time, the things that go wrong actually make my piece 10 times better in the end.
On your blog, there are so many brands you’ve worked with! What was the first brand you collaborated with and how did that come about?
My first brand was a lighting company from America. I was so new to this I could not wait to do my first review. The communication was not great and that is when I decided not to jump at the first opportunity, but actually think carefully before committing to anything.
Since, I have been lucky to come across a group of likeminded bloggers and a contest which concentrates on furniture makeovers and originates in the USA. There are some fantastic sponsors and brands that work with bloggers and most importantly value them. I have been lucky enough to also work with some amazing brands in the UK. I have built up great relationships with PRs, companies and individuals. For me, the most important thing is to stay authentic and true to myself. I only work with companies and brands I love and that are relevant to my blog. I must also add that not all of my collaborations are paid, so if I truly love something I promote it just because I love it!
Where do you get your inspiration from? Do you read other blogs and, if so, which ones are your favourites?
I see potential projects everywhere I go. My head is working overtime sometimes, well actually most of the time!! I am a huge fan of so many bloggers around the world I could spend hours naming them all. I am looking through Pinterest and Hometalk most of the days. My favourite furniture makeovers are by Larissa from Prodigal Pieces and Jonathon Marc Mendes from Painted Love!! They are simply amazing at furniture transformations. Medina from Grillo Designs is super creative, I also love Bev from Flamingo Toes and if you love French inspired interiors and furniture, Edith and Evelyn is full of amazing photos and posts. Last but not least, my blogging friend from Spain, Pili at My Sweet Things, is super creative and comes up with some amazing stuff.
You’ve also been featured in so many magazines! Is there a feature that particularly stands out in your mind?
I am honoured and humbled every time anyone thinks any of my projects are “magazine worthy”! The one that stands out the most is probably my first ever project being featured. I think I bought three copies and shared them with my mum and sisters. To think that a used up pasta sauce jar covered with napkins would end up being so popular! The other one is my first ever printed interview in the Reloved Magazine, which I have framed and put in my craft room as a reminder to keep going!
Having lived in Latvia & Isle of Man, what would your recommendations be to crafters who visit both places? Any shops that they must check out or local crafts they should try?
When I go back to Latvia, I always visit the market stalls that sell handmade items. Latvia is so full of amazingly talented and creative people. You will find traditional candles, woodwork, hand carved items, handmade baskets, amber jewellery, clay figurines, linens.. the list goes on. My mum and I always visit them and end up buying something as it is a little piece of home I can always bring back to the Isle of Man. I also always buy the beautiful candles from the Sveču Istaba (English – The Candle Room). The antique shops in Latvia are also something else, it is like stepping back in time and the items are so cheap!
I’ll definitely check Bubbles & Cream and the guild out when I pop by the Isle of Man 🙂 Hopefully we can meet too 🙂 DIY-ing your own house is a brave undertaking! Do you have any funny stories to share?
Our house project is the biggest DIY I have ever taken on. It is exciting but at the same time super scary and such hard work! Not sure about funny stories, but we come across something going wrong…well not according to plan every single time! One thing just leads to another.. but we are first time home owners so we are learning as we go along. We did the hallway and the main wall was meant to be painted in a different colour, after my disaster with the frog tape, where all the paint came off we decided to use wallpaper and created a statement wall instead. It turned out even nicer that we thought, so every little disaster actually falls in the right place in the end!
What can we look forward to from From Evija with Love in 2017?
I set myself several goals this year, but I am already behind with some of them! I am hoping to bring more creative projects and also I am building up courage to make my first video tutorial. I think it is important to actually show how things are made, sometimes they don’t go to plan and it is ok! I want to encourage people to try and be a little bit more creative. I am also hoping to keep working with the amazing brands and companies I worked with in 2016. I have also become the Brand Ambassador for The Old Fashioned Milk Paint and will be doing some fabulous furniture makeovers very soon!
Brand Ambassadorship- a dream come true for so many bloggers! 🙂 Congratulations!! Before you go, do share your top 3 tips for bloggers on getting collaborations with brands?
- Always be professional and honest to yourself, your blog and the company. Don’t sell out and promote something you are not passionate about. The readers can tell the difference.
- Build relationships and don’t concentrate on the monetary values at first.
- That said, DO value yourself and your work! I see so many bloggers often settling for less just so they can work with some companies. I always think if a brand truly wants to work with you and your blog, they will do so on your terms. If they don’t then do you really want to work with someone like that?
Too true!! 🙂 I’ve been ghosted by a big brand myself (won’t kiss and tell) which was sad, but as you say, if they don’t value your work, it’s not worth it 🙂
Can’t wait to see the next million- view DIY from From Evija with Love 🙂 🙂 🙂